The Director General of the Nigeria Copyright Commission (NCC), John Asien, has said the commission would focus more on the enforcement of copyright laws from 2021.
Mr Asien told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the side-lines of the just concluded 39th International Convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) in Ilorin, that it would no longer be business as usual for pirates.
He said different strategies would be used, both online and in physical space, to ensure that pirates stopped selling pirated books.
“For us at the commission, we are more than committed; by next year we will be focusing more on enforcement and we are going to do that in all nooks and cranny of Nigeria.
“We are going to use different strategies and working on different platforms – both online and (in) the physical space. This is because we must address this problem head on and that is a commitment from the NCC,” Mr Asien said.
He cited the loss to piracy annually as running into billions of Naira, leaving authors at the mercy of philanthropists when they need help.
“Most authors are just satisfied that their books are mentioned, those who are lucky may get one or two prizes. No author at the end of his journey looks back and is ever happy that the copyright system has helped him to make so much.
“That is why from next year, it can never be business as usual, because the loss to piracy is in billions, lives are lost. There are so many authors who are well known, but when they are sick, we have to be begging for donations; some die in that condition just because of what piracy is doing to them.
“At least daily, one container is moving out with pirated books. We are working together with the Nigeria Ports Authority on how to detect these pirated books.
“When that is done, it will be easy for us to begin to address and bring down the piracy level,” the NCC DG said.
Mr Asien said that the commission would also partner with authors and publishers to lend their voice to the fight against piracy.
“Hopefully, at ANA’s 40th celebration next year, one of the things we will be having is a collective statement from authors and publishers.
“We are hoping to launch the poetry competition and get the best of the poems that will address the pain of piracy. That way, we can begin to articulate how the problem is really affecting authors,” he said.
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